3.7   CEREMONIAL MAGIC (THE RITUAL)

Many sorcerers disagree on the order in which events must occur during the ritual.   Additionally, they even disagree on what steps and implements are necessary or merely extraneous.   The one aspect they can all find common ground with is the fact that the ceremony must be performed on a specific day and hour corresponding to the celestial being invoked.   To perform the ritual at any other time will mean sure failure. 

In the case of simple summoning rituals the entire process takes no longer than an hour.  When a talisman is created, however, the process lasts far longer.   Usually starting at the correct hour and day of the celestial's power and continuing on until the cycle repeats itself (usually 42 hours).  During this time, the sorcerer must remain in the summoning circle in a constant state of prayer and meditation.

Though the drawing of the summoning circle is of crucial importance to the ritual, sorcerers do not agree on the shape, size, and method of drawing used to create it.   In spite of this dissension, there are a number of elements all sorcerers agree must be contained in the circle.   The sigil and name of the celestial being summoned (even in the cases of creating talismans) must be drawn in the circle along with protective symbols, binding symbols, and Task symbols.  The drawing of the circle and these symbols is a tedious process often taking an hour or more to complete.

During the ceremony itself peripherals are used to enhance the atmosphere, improve the state of the practitioner, and cleanse the summoning area.   They include such things as lights (candles), perfumes, unguents, and medicines.   While none conclude that failure will result from the lack of these things, they certainly appear to increase the chances of success.

In addition to these peripherals, a number of objects are often used to help with the ritual.   These include: holy papers, pictures, pentacles, a sword, a dagger, a rod, a staff, and the proper clothing (which must be of specified color and material).   Not all these items are used together by all sorcerers, but a combination of some are almost always employed.   The rod, staff, and sword seem to be the most crucial of these items, appearing in almost all rituals.

Contrary to mainstream views that see sorcerers as diabolists, a sacrifice is rarely used for the ritual.   This usually only occurs among the darker paths of the arts.  When a sacrifice is used, however, it is never a human one but rather takes the form of a kid (an immature goat). 

In the case of creating a talisman, a triangle is affixed to the outside of the circle.  The item to be enchanted is placed here at the beginning of the ritual and must not be removed until the completion of the ceremony.  If it is removed, even for an instant, the sorcerer will be forced to start anew. 

As the ceremony begins the sorcerer enters the summoning circle and offers an oration unto God.  Next prayers, psalms, or gospels are professed to offer defense to the practitioner during the ritual process. At this point the innovation begins.  Lasting between ten and twenty minutes, these prayers are fraught with semantic dangers and linguistically nuances.   If the angel or demon does not appear, the invocation can be repeated twice. Each time, though, the practitioner becomes louder and more demanding. 

Assuming the invocation works, the sorcerer will now greet the celestial creature by name.  This is not merely a formality, but is instead used to bind the creature.  The sorcerer gives explicit instructions (and many tasks have gone awry because of misinterpreted orders) to the bound creature.  In the case of creating talismans, the celestial kneels before the object and begins to infuse it with his power (a process it will continue until the appropriate hour comes again), but in all other case, the celestial leaves to complete its task.   This done, the practitioner must offer a final prayer of defense and praise to the Almighty before leaving the circle.   If this is forgotten, it is possible for the bound celestial to return and do harm to the sorcerer.


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